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The moment I joined Pinterest, I was hooked. If you haven’t already heard, Pinterest allows you to “pin” online photos to virtual pinboards. You can share your boards with others, comment on pins and repin friends’ pins. Founded by three innovative guys in Palo Alto, California, Pinterest has quickly become a useful tool for those in the creative world. I constantly pin fabulous party ideas, decorating inspiration, gorgeous cakes and cupcakes. That’s why I was thrilled when Pinterest co-founder Ben Silbermann agreed to do an interview with me for HGTV.com.

{1} For the person how has never visited Pinterest.com, how would you describe it?

Pinterest is an online pinboard that helps you collect and explore what inspires you.

{2} What inspired your idea to start Pinterest?

As a kid, I loved collecting. I collected everything from insects to stamps to books. I’ve always thought that the things you collect — whether it’s the furniture in your home or the music on your iPod — says a lot about who you are. I thought it would be great to bring that entire experience online and help connect people who have common interests.

sources :: library, stamps

{3} What is the very first photo you personally pinned?

It’s a paper cut that I found on Etsy. When Pinterest turned one, my Mom bought me a copy of that papercut to hang in my apartment!

source :: paper silhouette

{4} Inspirational art prints with quotes are pinned on a regular basis. Do you have a favorite that you have pinned?

There is a poster by one of the designers at Facebook that says “Done is Better than Perfect”. We have a copy hanging in our office as a reminder of how important it is to push things forward all the time. Our little team is obsessed with making Pinterest into a service that makes people’s lives more inspiring and fun. That means that we can’t be afraid to try new things and learn from our mistakes.

source :: poster

{5} When you created it, you had this vision for how Pinterest would be used. What are the most unexpected ways people are using Pinterest that you never imagined?

I’m always stumbling across pinboards that I never could have imagined when Paul Sciarra, Evan Sharp and I first designed the site. There are lots of people who use Pinterest to redecorate their homes and plan their weddings. But there are also thousands of other pinboards that are completely unexpected and beautiful:

  • Pinning Barcelona: an incredibly beautiful visual travel guide created by Elena, who has lived in Barcelona (and a ton of other cities).
  • Women in Planetary Science: created by Susan, a Mom and Astrophysicist.
  • Ultramapping: created by Sha, a friend who specializes in Information Visualization.
  • Crazy Star Wars Sh*t: created by my co-founder, Evan. (Hey, I had to throw in Star Wars).

Pinterest - Interview With Ben Silbermann - HGTV design blog

{6} Any interesting stats you can share, like the most pinned item of all time?

I’ve never run the single most popular pin of all time, but there are pins that seem to spread like wildfire! Here are a few from the last couple weeks: an elephant lamp by Jonathan Adler, a watermelon balsamic appetizer, a tabletop fireplace and a football onesie that any new Dad would appreciate.

{7} Is there a Pinterest equivalent of the Tetris effect? Are there wives who used to be football widows, and now their husbands are experiencing what it’s like to be a Pinterest widower?

Geez, I’ve never heard that before. I don’t want any broken marriages on my conscience! All joking aside though, I get tons of emails from people who have been inspired to try something they’ve never tried before. That’s very different from “Tetris” (or maybe Farmville these days), where people spend MORE and MORE time on the computer and less time doing things. A great example is this mom in New Zealand who does one inspiring project she finds on Pinterest every single day.

{8} Do you ever have to delete pins that are too racy?

It’s rare, but occasionally, we delete explicit pins. Taste is personal, but we also want to be sensitive to people who use Pinterest at work or who use Pinterest professionally with their clients. When we delete a pin, we try to send a message with a link to the original source. No one on our team is against nudity.

{9} What would you ask people to remember when they are pinning as far as etiquette for crediting the source for an image?

We always ask people to pin from the original source. It’s important to link to a specific website page or blog page rather than the front of a blog, homepage of a site or Google search results. This helps the whole community, because if you run across something you want to buy or create yourself, you can easily find more information.

{10} What does the future hold for Pinterest?

We want to make Pinterest SO much better! We know there’s a lot we can do to make Pinterest faster, more useful and more fun. I won’t spoil the surprise, but there are a lot of exciting changes coming in the next few weeks.

{Thank you so much, Ben, for taking the time to answer all of our burning questions!}

HGTV Design Happens fans, if you haven’t joined or received an invitation to Pinterest yet, the first 150 readers can snag an account here. And be sure to follow The TomKat Studio and HGTV.com on Pinterest.

Are you on Pinterest? What do you like to pin? What is your favorite board?


Design Inspiration

51 Responses

  1. Briana@HGTV says:

    A fantastic and fascinating interview! I love those unexpected uses for Pinterest, too. A sort of visual travel guide is a cool idea.

  2. [...] My Interview With Pinterest Co-Founder Ben Silbermann HGTV Design Happens August 30, 2011 8:20 pm HGTV Design Happens Rate this story Share this story [...]

  3. Carolyn H. says:

    Thank you for the pinterest invite!! Can't wait to start playing.

  4. [...] had the fantastic opportunity of interviewing Ben Silbermann, co-founder of the amazing site, Pinterest. If you read my blog, you know that I am obsessed with Pinterest so it was fun to get some insight [...]

  5. thisnestisbest says:

    I'm in looove with Pinterest! So neat to get a little background information from one of the developers!

  6. Redhouse Ranch says:

    Very nice interview, Kim! So cool to learn more about Pinterest. I do wonder, however, how these guys are making money…

  7. Amy K says:

    Fun! I absolutely love Pinterest. I can't wait to see the upcoming changes/improvements. Thanks for sharing your interview.

  8. Joy L. says:

    Cool interview!! I just wanted to trow this out there- Pinterest works A LOT faster with Google Chrome instead of Internet Explorer. You can "pin" for hours with Chrome!!! Lol.

  9. Allison says:

    Awesome interview, Kim! It is great to get to know more about one of the creators and Pinterest since it is a very BIG addiction of mine! lol

  10. eclecticmomma says:

    I use pinterest as an online inspiration board to plan my parties and decorate my home, it's addicting

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